A sense of duty isn't enough for long-haul motivation; a sense of purpose is.
It was going to be great! A youth trip with a purpose. Out of our group of twenty-five high schoolers, twenty-two had signed up for seven days of nothing but service and discipleship. We were serious: eight hours of work each day, plus Scripture memory and Bible study.
We had talked up, psyched up, and signed up every available body. That's what comes from good teaching, strategizing, and planning, I told myself. And the kids were even paying their own way!
The final week arrived. As I made call after call, the excuses mounted. Heavy pencil lines ran through all the leaders' names … and most of the followers. I was reduced to begging. Instead of an impressive caravan of youth missionaries, we piled into one station wagon: four silent "fringe" teenagers, two sponsors, and myself. I was into Round One of an expensive lesson in leadership and motivation. I was angry and befuddled.1